And justice for all

November 16, 2009

More than a dozen college clubs joined minds, hearts and actions to spark awareness and promote fairness and open-mindedness during a week-long celebration of justice.

The brain child of senior Claire Turpel, Justice Week 2009 featured thought-provoking activities centered on human rights, stereotypes, the death penalty, the environment and even the secrets no one ever tells.

“Being on campus can isolate you from what’s happening in the world,” says Turpel, who fashioned Justice Week after a similar week held at the University of Reading while she was studying abroad at the college west of London. “This way we bring the issues straight to campus so that everyone becomes more aware.”

In the course of the week, students expressed their individual rights in brightly colored paints on a mural made from a bed sheet. They created anonymous postcards reflecting their deepest secrets and bowled using recycled water bottles as bowling pins on lanes made of plastic trash bags. They designed a rainbow of T-shirts aimed at righting both individual and societal wrongs and took turns on the Philosophy Club’s soapbox explaining what justice meant to them.

Some dug deep into their pockets to contribute to the Asian Community Coalition’s Philippine relief efforts in the wake of devastation left behind by Typhoon Ondoy – as sophomore Leigh Choi, wrapped in blue cellophane trimmed in strips of toilet paper to mimic a typhoon, twisted and twirled nearby.

Still others dressed in stereotypical garb and danced the evening away in McDaniel Lounge.

“We wanted to demonstrate that the idea of stereotypes is petty – that we can get past these things, and that we are all McDaniel students,” said Eric Welkos ’10 about the International Club’s Stereotype Night.

By the time the Friday evening finale arrived, the students were ready to kick back and enjoy roasting marshmallows over the open fire in Ensor Lounge before squishing them – S’More style – between graham crackers layered in chocolate. They gathered around the nearby grand piano while Mike Pfeiffer ’11 hammered out an impromptu musicale.

Before evening’s end, prizes – fair-trade products from SERVV International – were awarded to students who attended the most events as charted on orange passports created for Justice Week. Freshmen Paula Senff and Ryan Spicer took home tea in a mug and chocolate respectively, and junior Kristin Behrle won the coffee in a mug.

Student groups participating in the event included Allies, Amnesty International, Asian Community Coalition, College Democrats, College Libertarians, Environmental Action Club, International Club, Justice League, Maryland Student Legislature, Philosophy Club, Psychology Club and Active Minds and Women’s Issues Group.